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Some researchers say humidity may hinder the spread of coronavirus, so what does that mean for Houston?

But not all scientists are convinced.

HOUSTON — New research theorizes humidity does seem to dampen the spread of the coronavirus, but would that really mean Houston-area residents are at a geographic advantage when it comes to controlling the virus?

“There is some evidence that respiratory viruses, including SARS, don’t transmit as well when the humidity is low, which is what happens in the winter,” said UTHealth School of Public Health infectious disease epidemiologist Catherine Troisi, M.D.

Troisi said it is still too soon to say for sure what widespread impact humidity will have this summer because there has been a lack of exposure to the new coronavirus.

“Basically, everybody is still susceptible to it,” Troisi said. “And so we may still be seeing a lot of spread.”

Troisi said a lack of humidity does have an impact on the human body’s ability to resist viruses. She said dry nasal passages affect the way the respiratory system filter and fight all sorts of pathogens.

Troisi warns Houston-area residents should not be too confident just because we live in one of the most humid major cities in the country. Like much of what has been learned from the new coronavirus – it’s unpredictable.

“If everything were due to humidity, if that was the only thing that affected spread, we should be going down in cases, right?” Troisi said. “And yet, for Texas, and for Houston, our seven-day average has been going up for the past five days.”

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